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Lone Star Rare Exotic Fish Co.

African Arowana / Heterotis niloticus

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Common Name: African Arowana

Scientific Name: Heterotis niloticus

Other Names: Nile Arowana, African Arapaima

The African Arowana is a sought-after and primitive fish that captures the hearts of serious aquarists. With its elongated body, robust and short head, large independent eyes, and thick lips, this fish is often considered prehistoric in appearance. The body is covered in large, oval, dark bronze scales with a beautiful greenish-blue iridescence, making it a striking addition to any aquarium.

Habitat and Distribution: The African Arowana is native to the African continent and can be found in all basins of the Sahelo-Sudanese region, including the Senegal, Gambia, Corubal, Volta, Ouémé, Niger, Bénoue, Chad, and Nile basins, as well as Lake Turkana. They are adapted to living in both still and flowing waters, including rivers, streams, lakes, and swamps.

Size and Lifespan: In the wild, the African Arowana can grow up to 3.2 feet in length, while in captivity they can reach up to 2 feet. Their lifespan can exceed 10 years if kept in ideal conditions.

Diet and Behavior: The African Arowana is an omnivorous fish and feeds primarily on plankton in the wild. In the aquarium, they can be fed a variety of foods, including frozen blood worms, chopped raw tilapia, protein-rich pellets, and vegetables. They are a filter feeder, and their feeding habits can be challenging to replicate in the aquarium. They also sift the substrate in their mouth, which can be harmful if the substrate is not soft. They can be sensitive to water quality when young and may not accept commercial dry foods. They can be a challenging species to keep when young, so they are recommended for experienced fish keepers.

Breeding and Reproduction: The African Arowana is an oviparous species that breeds during the rainy season in still-water environments. They build a large circular nest with an edge formed by pieces of plants, protruding above the surface. The male takes care of the fry, and they demonstrate parental care. Breeding the African Arowana in captivity is rare, and commercial breeding operations are limited.

Aquarium Care and Tank Requirements: The African Arowana requires a minimum tank size of 150 gallons and soft substrate such as fine sand to protect its mouth while feeding. They can tolerate a wide range of water conditions and do well in a well-maintained and established aquarium. Water parameters for the African Arowana should be kept between a temperature of 75-86°F, a pH range of 6.7-7.5, and a GH range of 2-15.

Ideal Tank Mates: The African Arowana is peaceful with fish that it does not see as prey and can be kept in a community aquarium with similarly sized fish. However, they show territorial behavior towards other Arowana, and they should not be kept with their own kind.

Difficulty Level: The African Arowana is a challenging species to keep, particularly when young, but it can be a rewarding experience for experienced fish keepers.

Additional Information:

African Arowana are often mistaken as true Arowanas but they actually belong to the Arapaimidae family. They are commonly known as Nile Arowanas due to their resemblance to Asian Arowanas, which are also known as Dragon Fish or Asian Bonytongues.
In the wild, African Arowanas are known to live in stagnant and slow-moving waters such as lakes, swamps, and floodplains. They are usually found in areas with dense vegetation and prefer areas with a lot of organic matter in the water.
In some parts of Africa, African Arowanas are considered a delicacy and are often hunted for their meat. They are also sometimes used in traditional medicine.
Although African Arowanas are not yet classified as a threatened species, their populations in some areas have been declining due to habitat destruction and overfishing. Conservation efforts are being made to preserve their populations and prevent them from becoming endangered.
African Arowanas have an interesting and unique behavior of swimming upside down near the water surface. This behavior is believed to help them find food, as they are able to see prey swimming above them more easily.
Due to their large size and territorial behavior, African Arowanas require a spacious aquarium with plenty of hiding spots and vegetation. They are not recommended for beginner aquarists, but can be a rewarding and fascinating species for experienced fish keepers.


Shipping & General Information




Shipping Information

Livestock Shipping Rates
Continental US: Flat Rate $49.99
Texas: Flat Rate $19.99
Alaska: Flat Rate $99.99

Hawaii: We do not ship to Hawaii

Overnight Delivery
Please note that shipping rates are subject to change.  We are located in the United States and will only ship to the Continental US. We ship using primarily UPS Next Day Air Overnight, which ships directly to your doorstep. Some shipments may be shipped using USPS Priority Express Overnight. Packages are typically delivered between 10:00 am -12:00 pm, but can sometimes be later.
The regular shipping cost includes a box with an insulated box liner and a heat pack during winter months. This does not include a thick-wall styrofoam box. If your order is shipping in below 50°F temperatures or above 90°F, make sure to add Cold Weather Shipping or Hot Weather Shipping to your order prior to checkout, as our regular packaging will not withstand these temperatures. More info below. 
The day the shipping label is created, you'll receive an email with tracking information. 
Orders typically ship within 3-10 business days. We ship Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, which means packages are delivered Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Please specify what day works best for you to receive on the Cart page prior to check out. If no date is selected prior to check out, your order will be shipped the next available day at our convenience. Please keep in mind that most fish require at least 2 days to clear out their digestive systems before shipping, which may delay shipping them out until the following week depending on when the order was placed.
Airport to Airport Delivery 
This option is only available for large fish or very large orders. 
Airport to airport is typically the fastest, safest, and most economical shipping option for large fish or large orders. The fish are sent to your nearest Southwest Cargo facility at your local airport where you'll be able to pick them up. We will not charge you for shipping if you choose this option. You will pay the airline directly upon pick up, unless Free Shipping applies to your order. 
After placing your order, text us at 936-239-1292 with your Order Number and your Airport Code (ex. LAX, ATL, DFW, JFK, MIA) and we will find the best flight for both you and the fish, as well as walk you through the process if you are unfamiliar with it. 
Local Pick Up
We are located in Livingston Texas (approximately 50 miles North of Houston), but we do not have a public location to visit. However, if you are in the Southeast Texas area and would like to pick up your fish in person, we do offer local meet-up's. Simply select "Local Pick Up" at checkout and include a valid phone number on your order and we will reach out to you to arrange a time to meet up.
Shipping Protection
We take great pride in our packaging and losses are a very rare occurrence, even when shipments are unexpectedly delayed. Due to the nature of our business, losses do happen from time to time. We guarantee Live Arrival on every shipment with our Live Arrival Guarantee, however this only covers the cost of the lost livestock via a store credit and does not cover packages that are lost or stolen. Our Shipping Protection is just a few bucks on most orders and will cover you in case of lost/stolen packages, and will cover your shipping expenses if the order is a total loss. This means that if your order is a total loss, instead of receiving a store credit for the fish minus shipping costs, you will receive a full cash refund back to the original payment source including the shipping costs. 
Cold Weather Shipping
If you expect to receive nighttime low temperatures in your area of less than 50°F, please select this option prior to checkout. While our normal packaging includes heat packs, it is not designed to withstand temperatures below 50°F. We DO NOT check the weather in your area prior to shipping, this is your responsibility. When this option is selected we will use a thick-wall styrofoam shipping box to ensure your new fish arrive to you safely. This up-charge is added to your shipping costs and will be treated the same as your regular shipping costs. If nighttime temperatures in your area are less than 50°F and this option is not selected, our Live Arrival Guarantee will be voided. If temperatures are below 30°F in your area, please consider waiting for warmer weather before you place your order.
Hot Weather Shipping
If you expect to daytime high temperatures in your area of greater than 90°F, please select this option prior to checkout. We DO NOT check the weather in your area prior to shipping, this is your responsibility. When this option is selected we will include cooling packs to your order to ensure your new fish arrive to you safely. This up-charge is added to your shipping costs and will be treated the same as your regular shipping costs. If daytime temperatures in your area are greater than 90°F and this option is not selected, our Live Arrival Guarantee will be voided. If temperatures are above 110°F in your area, please consider waiting for cooler weather before you place your order.

General Information

Pre-orders often take 2-4 weeks to fulfill, but can occasionally take 4-8 weeks, so please be prepared to wait after placing your pre-order. 
If you order In-Stock Livestock with your Pre-Order Livestock, your In-Stock Livestock will be held until your Pre-Order Livestock is ready to ship. 
Pre-orders are subject to cancellation at any time. Due to the nature of pre-ordering livestock, we can not always guarantee that all of the fish that you order will arrive to us. Sometimes due to factors such as shipping delays, availability changes, or fish arriving to us DOA, we will have to either do a partial or full order cancellation. In the unusual case that we are unable to fulfill your order within 8 weeks of being placed, you can choose to receive a full refund with zero cancellation fees, or we will issue an automatic full refund with zero cancellation fees if we determine that we can not fulfill the order at all. 
7-Day and 30-Day Livestock Protection
We are very confident in the health of our livestock and believe that they will continue to thrive in your care, however things don't always work out the way they should. We are offering protection on your new livestock purchase up to $1,000 with our Livestock Protection Programs. If you lose your new fish in the first 7 or 30 days after arrival, simply submit a claim and we will refund the full purchase price of your fish, even if it's your fault! We won't ask any questions about your set up, experience level, water parameters, etc. All we ask for is photographic proof that the fish is no longer alive. Please keep in mind that in some cases we may ask for additional evidence to verify a claim, which may include a photo of the fish cut in half. You must keep the remains in your possession until the claim is resolved. Protection will not apply if lost due to something such as being consumed by tank-mates. Void if the fish has been visibly damaged. Protection fee and shipping are non-refundable. 
Order Cancellation
If you need to make changes to your order, please contact us and we will be happy to assist with any modifications. If an order needs to be canceled after being placed and prior to shipping, we can either issue a store credit for the full amount, or can issue a refund. If a refund is preferred, there will be a 10% fee that will deducted from the refund amount as a service fee and to cover our transactions fees both ways.
Product Photography
We do our best to keep our photos accurate and up to date, but be aware that livestock photos may not always be of the exact fish available unless listed as WYSIWYG. 
Special Requests
Can't find what you're looking for? Head over to our Special Requests page and leave a comment with what you're looking for and we will do our best to find it.
Limitation of Species
We are located in Texas, meaning that while we may be better than all of y'all in the rest of the country, we unfortunately can not keep or sell many of the species that we would like to. This includes fish such as Freshwater Stingrays, Piranha, Arapaima, Electric Eels, and Payara just to name a few. For a full list of restricted species in Texas, head to Texas Parks & Wildlife's list of Invasive, Prohibited and Exotic Species.

Live Arrival Guarantee / DOA Policy

We take great pride in our packaging and losses are a very rare occurrence, even when shipments are unexpectedly delayed. Live arrival is always guaranteed by default on every order, given the conditions below are met. If there are any DOA's in your order, we offer a store credit towards your next purchase for the full value of the lost livestock, minus any shipping charges. Shipping charges are non-refundable. To be eligible for a cash refund for the full value of the lost livestock instead of store credit, Shipping Protection must be included in your order. 

Conditions of Live Arrival Guarantee
1. The package must be received on the first delivery attempt.
2. The package must be sent to the correct address and not a forwarding address. 
3. Temperatures in your area must be between 50-90 °F, unless Cold Weather Shipping or Hot Weather Shipping was added to your order. Find more info about Hot and Cold Weather Shipping in our Shipping and General Information section. 
4. You must fill out our DOA Claim Submission Form within 2 hours of delivery and provide clear photos of the lost item, both inside of the sealed unopened bag as well as laid on a dry surface. 
5. Our DOA Policy does not cover lost/stolen packages if your order does not include Shipping Protection.
We are not responsible for any losses that occur after the fish is removed from the bag or beyond 2 hours after the marked delivery time, so please make sure that you are available to receive your fish as soon as they arrive and that your tank is ready to accept new livestock. 
If your livestock was insured with our 7-Day or 30-Day Protection and you need to file a claim, please fill out the Insurance Claim Submission Form